Postcards from and to Finland
Hanna: My class has worked with Matthews Wisteria class during the past school year. English is a new language for the Finnish third grader so we have been eager to practise our language skills. We have sent Wisteria Class mail and have filmed video greetings. We have practiced expressing greetings in English for different seasons.
We were very happy to practise how to tell about ourselves in English when we sent mail with Rastaala teacher Elina to Dunkirk this spring 2016. Even more exciting was to receive mail back from Matthews class. My class was very enthusiastic and proud to connect with Wisteria class.
One of my students expressed it in a wonderful way: “It is like the world is now a little bit bigger for me.”
Elina: Hanna's class 3C carried out a project on Finland earlier this year and as a part of their project they wanted to send Wisteria Class some traditional self-made postcards with pictures. After interviewing me the pupils at Dunkirk were very excited to read the postcards, and together we wrote postcards in return. The Finnish names on the postcards were interesting (Is this a boy or a girl?), and we learned how to start a message and how to end it, what a polite way to answer is like, where to write the address etc.
Wisteria class had started studying the picture book Varmints by Helen Ward. Matthew sent me a trailer and three question for my pupils to answer beforehand. As a subject teacher I teach several groups of pupils at Rastaala so I decided to work with 3 classes and collect their answers. At Dunkirk we compared the answers of the Finnish pupils to the answers of Wisteria Class. There were no right or wrong answers as long as the children could explain their reasons. The answers were really similar but I noticed that year 4 pupils at Dunkirk can reason their answers better than most of the Finnish pupils of the same age. I think explaining one´s answers is something that the Finnish pupils need to keep practicing.
Tally charts & favourite sports
Before my visit I also collected some data for Wisteria Class´s maths lesson. The data was used to compare favourite sports in England and in Finland. The Finnish pupils wrote their favourite sports on a piece of paper, and I took the list with me to Dunkirk. Wisteria Class collected the data in tally charts and talked about the different hobbies people have in different countries and why.
On Thursday we continued to work on Varmints.
In the story there is a beautiful meadow that is destroyed in the process of building a big new city. First Matthew showed the pupils a silhouette of a real city that was “drawn” with different kinds of words describing that specific city. Then the pupils were asked to think about the city built in the story and write down on a piece of paper some adjectives that describe the city in the story. Then the adjectives were “drawn” on another bigger paper so that they create a silhouette of the imaginative city. Every silhouette could be different because the city didn’t really exist.
This activity is something that I would really like to try with my own pupils if possible.